Removing weight from something as ethereal as the Elise can’t be an easy task, but the engineers at Potash Lane have managed it with the new Lotus Elise Sprint, trimming an already insubstantial car down to a 798kg dry weight. It’s the first time the Elise has dipped into the ‘sevens’ since the flyweight first-generation model, (which still mocks the Sprint’s middle-aged spread with a 731kg with-fluids figure) and is the result of the use of carbonfibre for the seats and engine cover, a lithium-ion battery and other improvements borrowed from models such as the Exige. It gets that car’s intricate exposed gearlever assembly, too.
When is an Elise not an Elise? When it’s a Detroit Electric SP:01. As part of a business plan that probably reads ‘do what Tesla did’, the Detroit-based, British-engineered firm has announced a joint venture with China’s Far East Smarter Energy Group to secure $1.8billion in investment. Production of the Elise-chass is’d electric sports car is scheduled to begin later in 2017.
VW and Porsche have each announced upgrades to popular models this month. VW’s offering is a Performance Pack for the Golf R, with drilled front brake discs, upgraded pads, a small lip on the rear spoiler and the removal of the 250km/h limiter, lifting top speed to 265km/h. An Akrapovic exhaust is also available, saving 7kg and adding volume. The pack hasn’t yet been confirmed for the UK, however. That’s also the case for the 30hp Power Kit for the Porsche 911 Carrera S. It takes power to a GTS-matching 450hp, with upgraded turbochargers, the Sport Chrono package and a sporty central exhaust exit. The Abarth 595 Trofeo is definitely available in the UK. Based on the upgraded Abarth 595 launched last year, it gets the same 160hp and six-speed manual gearbox. Five paint schemes are offered, with contrasting exterior trim, while performance software in the infotainment system allows you to upload track data to the car for real-time telemetry.
Finally this month, news still trickles in from Toyota on its future sports cars. At the Geneva motor show, evo learned that Toyota engineer and Gazoo Racing chief Tetsuya Tada is keen to bring back an MR2-sized sports car to the lineup. While this may take the form of a front-engined, rear-drive model like that previewed by 2015’s S-FR concept, Tada also hints that a mid-mounted engine is still an option – not least as it makes space for battery installation, should a hybrid model be on the cards. Meanwhile, the Japanese firm has also applied for a patent for an electric compressor, which could see use in the next-generation Supra.